A team of scientists at the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Germany have made a groundbreaking discovery in the manipulation of quantum materials using laser drives. By adjusting the light source to 10 THz, researchers were able to create a long-lived superconducting-like state in a fullerene-based material (K3C60) with laser light, while decreasing the pulse intensity by a factor of 100.
The researchers directly observed this light-induced state at room temperature for 100 picoseconds and predicted that it has a lifetime of at least 0.5 nanoseconds. This discovery could lead to a better understanding of the underlying microscopic mechanism of photo-induced superconductivity and provide insight into the amplification of electronic properties in materials.
Andrea Cavalleri, founder and director of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter as well as a physics professor at the University of Hamburg and Oxford, explains why researchers are interested in studying nonlinear responses in materials and how these can lead to amplification of electronic properties like superconductivity. The resonance frequency identified in this study can help theoretical physicists understand which excitations are essential for this effect in K3C60.
Edward Rowe, Ph.D. student working with Cavalleri, adds that using a higher repetition rate laser source at 10 THz may sustain metastable states longer, potentially leading to continuous sustenance of superconducting-like states. This research has the potential to advance our understanding of quantum materials and their properties.
In summary, this discovery is significant because it opens up new avenues for research into photo-induced superconductivity and could lead to practical applications such as improving battery technology or developing new materials for electronics.